8.7B$ for the next screens generation

A 4k LG OLED television, with a price tag of 5,500$ at 55" and 7,000$ at 65". Nice but a tad expensive... Credit: LG

OLED technology has been around for quite a few years. It is today the best display technology we have available but it has a big catch. It is very expensive particularly if you want to use it for big screens. The manufacturing cost grows exponentially as the screen size increases.

Because of the cost factor we see OLED technology used in smart watches and in a number of smart phones (top of the line of course). For these devices the better quality delivered by OLED, particularly the real blacks, make for a much better experience in daylight. 

There are also a few television screens based on OLED but they are very expensive.

Now LG, one of the leaders in this technology, has announced an investment of 8.7B$ to build a manufacturing plant focussing on the production of large screens. Everything in the plant is huge, not just the investment. It will cover a surface equivalent to 14 soccer fields and the building will reach a hight of 100 mt, like a 30 storeys skyscraper.

LG is looking to grab a significant portion of a market that in 2014 was over 8B$ and that promises to reach 29B$ in 2022.  The plant will be operational in 2018 and LG hopes to become the main player in this technology.

The big bet is customers will be willing to spend more for a better screen quality, not much more however, since mass production of OLED should decrease prices substantially.

Interestingly, although this is not mentioned in LG's announcement, in the next decade we should see the emergence of the 8K standard, 4 times as much the resolution of the UHD (4K). At that resolution and with a very large screen (60"+) one will experience a full immersion in the movie. Of course that will require a 100Mbps bandwidth (hence fibre connectivity) and an upgrade to the whole production and delivery chain. Not easy but technologically feasible.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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